Star of wonder
Star of light
Star with royal beauty bright
Guide us to thy perfect light.
Compared to the Bible’s account of the Magi visit, the story we tell is often padded with a bit of extra information. History and tradition have done their part to fill in the details regarding these visitors, including their number, names, and the timing of their arrival. One aspect of the visit that has largely escaped alteration is the list of gifts presented to Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. If you’re wondering what use an infant would have for these gifts, you’re not alone.
A gift for a King
And as it is today, gold was a valued commodity in the ancient world. Among the types of assets listed in the Bible (e.g., precious metals, livestock, servants, gemstones, etc.), accumulation of gold was one of the chief measures of wealth. Because of its scarcity and immense value, gold was particularly associated with royalty and nobility, as is seen in 1 Kings 10 when the Queen of Sheba visits King Solomon bearing great quantities of gold as a gift. By bringing a gift of gold, the wise men showed that they did indeed consider Jesus a king.
What gifts did you enjoy receiving this Christmas?
What can you offer to Christ as a gift this year?
Almighty and everlasting God, creator of time and space of season and epoch, of birth and evolution of both living creatures and galaxies alike, hear us as we humbly come before you as we mark our brief passage of time as another year begins. We have heard the Christmas story, about how you came to live among us. As we try to understand what this means in our lives we pray that you will guide our life journeys.